Patrick Henry: “Liberty or Death” Speech


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Patrick Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia, on May 29, 1736, and died in Charlotte County, Virginia, on June 6, 1799. Coming from a family of moderate means, Henry first worked in a country store and then as a farmer. Then he read law—a common practice in the eighteenth century before the establishment of law schools—and was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1760. He soon established a formidable reputation in the courtroom based on his electrifying addresses to juries. One of Henry's early court cases challenged the English Crown's authority to overturn a law...

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A drawing depicting Patrick Henry delivering his famous speech (Library of Congress)

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